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Western Australia's Pilbara, Kimberley gear up for post-Easter tropical cyclone

This satellite image captured on Thursday shows the tropical low beginning to form. (Supplied: Bureau of Meteorology)

Residents across Western Australia's north are bracing for a dramatic end to the wet season, with a post-Easter tropical cyclone set to hit the region. 

A tropical low, currently classified as 23U, is expected to intensify as it tracks south-west through the Timor Sea over the long weekend.

The Bureau of Meteorology says there is a moderate likelihood it will reach cyclone strength north of the Kimberley coast on Monday.

It is then expected to head towards the coast between Karratha and Broome. 

"We are expecting a coastal crossing somewhere along the eastern Pilbara coastline ... possibly Thursday or Friday," meteorologist Jessica Lingard said.

"But that is still a week away and a lot can happen between now and then, so there is still a significant amount of uncertainty."

Current long-term modelling has the system making landfall late next week. (Supplied:

If declared a cyclone it will be named Ilsa, and be the seventh tropical cyclone of the Australian season.

None of the systems have made full-strength landfall in WA, however ex-tropical cyclone Ellie brought catastrophic flooding to the Kimberley in January.

Cyclone Freddy also devastated parts of Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique, killing 522 people, after a record-breaking life span took it across the Indian Ocean.

Travellers asked to stay alert

While there is still a significant amount of divergence in the bureau's modelling, heavy rain and thunderstorm activity is expected along the Kimberley's northern coast across the long weekend.

With the Easter school holidays generally marking the start of the tourist season in northern WA, thousands of travellers are expected to be heading north in coming days.

It was that factor, including the tens of thousands of visitors set to descend on Exmouth for this month's solar eclipse, which prompted the bureau to issue the early warning.

"We're trying to get on the front foot on this one to make people aware," Ms Lingard said.

"It is the school holidays, we do have a lot of people travelling around WA.

"Tourists within the Kimberley and the Pilbara region this weekend, the message is just to stay aware of the situation."

She said the bureau would be providing regular updates throughout the weekend.

Residents and visitors are also urged to monitor Emergency WA and ABC Local Radio for relevant updates as the situation develops.

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